Competition Customer relationships customer retention Customer service Improvement Manufacturing Marketing Small Business

What’s that creature in the water?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Jasmic

Is it the Creature from the Black Lagoon or worse… a Humanoid from the Deep? Nah, it’s just me.

Since junior’s Montana summer swim league started back in June, I’ve been going to lap swim at the end of the work day. Aside from the obvious benefits, it’s a great way to “shed the day” and detach from the laptop, phone, etc.

But this is Montana and it is September, which means that the pool has been closed for 2 weeks. It’s still reasonably warm, but the city likes to close the pool when school starts. What’s a guy to do?

I really didn’t want to wait for the pool to open next June so I joined a local club that has an indoor pool.

Of course, that got the gears turning.

One dollar

Even in the little burg of Columbia Falls, there are about 15-20 people doing lap swim during the two daily sessions. Even if only one of them joins your club/gym, you would think that would pay for $1 worth of marketing to those 20 people.

But no one did anything. Not even fliers on windshields at the pool during lap swim. Those might cost $0.05 each, plus some time to work up the flier. They probably have a brochure, worst case they could use that – though I’d recommend something else.

Not long ago, we had “Boogie to the Bank” during our town’s Heritage Days celebration. It’s a 5k run/walk that quite a lot of people participate in, from moms pushing strollers to real athletes who travel to compete in it. Wonder if any of them are the type who like to stay (or get) in shape?

Was there any marketing effort there to pique the interest of the folks inclined to stay active? Not really.

Standing room

I guess maybe these places have all the customers they want.

I wonder if there’s some burly guy at the door who flunked out of “Cool Hollywood Club-of-the-Week bouncer school” and has to keep people out of the gym instead? I haven’t seen him, so maybe I just visit at the wrong times.

Most gyms (athletic clubs, etc) depend on 50% (or some industry standard number) of their members paying but never/rarely showing up.

If 95% of their membership showed up every day, they’d be in trouble because the building would be packed. The fire marshal would be the next visitor, if you know what I mean.

Almost every other business would be thrilled if 95% of their customers showed up every day, but not athletic clubs.

I’ll bet most gym managers/owners can tell you what the average length of membership is for those who don’t visit regularly. I’ll bet some of them can guess with reasonable accuracy which hours of the day are the busiest. With the registration systems in place at many facilities, I’ll bet many of them have hard numbers to back up their guess.

I wonder what effort they put into reducing churn. I wonder what would happen if they spent that same effort on retaining their clients.

Speaking of, is churn an issue for your business?

If so, have you done the math on what it costs you each month? What effort are you putting into maintaining the churn treadmill?